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Photo Credit: Merry Carole Powers

Don't Rest on Your Laurels – The Secrets to Keeping Your Business Relevant

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In the world of business, resting on your laurels is a deadly trap. You have finished up some great work, have an amazing product and your finances are all in order. So you sit back and let the ship run its course. All the while competitors are coming up with the next great product, PR move or any number of unique trends to help put their business on top. To stay relevant in the market today there has to be a constant push and drive to innovate and deliver results. Below are some tips on how to keep your brand, and business, relevant in the market today.

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Photo Credit: Nicolas Boillot

Photo Credit: Nicolas Boillot

You must make your business stories compelling

I’ve been running HB Agency, an integrated marketing firm, for 14 years. A few years ago I realized that the word “story” seemed to mean something different to every person I ran into. I’ve heard marketing people call anything from a tweet to a video a “story,” and I’ve seen countless PR firm web sites talk about the power of story without ever defining the term. We have great examples of stories all around us and outside business we recognize stories everywhere. In order to keep your brand relevant, you must make your business stories compelling and memorable. We crave good stories and no matter what anyone says, you can learn to tell a good story. There are two basic concepts to storytelling: story values and events. Story values have to do with human experience and need to shift from positive to negative and back again. Story events are about meaningful change which is achieved through conflict. There’s always conflict, and conflict makes good stories. The conflict isn’t just between people on a personal level, but rather conflict in business. We care more about how a company solved an angry customer’s challenge and made a lifelong fan than a bunch of features and benefits of the company. While we can all appreciate those features and benefits, we must learn how to translate them into stores about people going through meaningful victories and defeats.

Thanks to Nicolas Boillot, HB Agency

 

Photo Credit: Teana McDonald

Photo Credit: Teana McDonald

Piggyback off current events

It’s a question that so many entrepreneurs struggle with on a daily basis. Do we create new ads in the paper, run a new commercial or do a mailing? That all depends on what’s going on in the world. Think about the things that are on the forefront of people’s minds and see how your product or service can contribute to the solution or better yet answer that question. Piggyback off of current events to make them fit into your business. For example, a baby clothing company ran a contest to guess the name of Kim & Kanye’s baby. They increased visibility to their website while indirectly selling their products. Think outside of the box and don’t reinvent the wheel.

Thanks to Teana McDonald, The InStyle Diva

 

Photo Credit: Billy Lowe

Photo Credit: Billy Lowe

Be as consistent as possible

What I’ve learned through the years is being as consistent as one can be. It’s easy for service providers or business experts to get lost in their journey – and forget their clients altogether. At the same time, in ia place like Hollywood where we’re constantly bombarded by the next film, the next product or the next celebrity – it’s easy for clients to “chair hop” as I call it, from business to business. Longevity and sticking it out is key. Clients want to know WHAT’S NEW – WHAT’S NEXT. By keeping them on their toes, sharing new tips or techniques or things your brand is doing – clients stay interested. In the world of health & beauty, I’ve worked as a retail sales director for global health & beauty brands and things change from season to season and it keeps clients coming back time and time again.

Thanks to Billy Lowe

 

Photo Credit: Debra Dixon

Photo Credit: Debra Dixon

Keeping a consistent brand image

My business, Light of Gold PR, Marketing, and Consulting LLC is a small public relations firm based out of New York City. I knew from the get-go that keeping our brand’s relevance was imperative for us to stay afloat (especially because that is what we do for our clients!). I asked myself the following questions, what does our company represent, how well does my target market identify with our brand, and how can I can take advantage of the resources I have available? Using these questions I built a brand with a positive image that reflects all of these answers. Another important aspect of our company is that we maintain our brand consistency. Between our social media presence, our website, our Ebook, and any outside press we receive, we do our best to maintain that same voice. This helps assure future clients that we are a company that they can trust and rely on. Above all else, we make sure our brand stands out compared to others. Light of Gold PR delivers a bright, optimistic message that differentiates us from our competitors!

Thanks to Debra Dixon, Light of Gold PR

Related Post: Creating a Unique Personal Brand

 

Photo Credit: Dr. Jason McClain

Photo Credit: Dr. Jason McClain

Remember to speak up

The only way to keep your brand relevant is to speak up! No matter what your product or your business, it is essential to maintain a constant flow of articles and ideas in the form of a blog, press release or social media effort. People who know a business are far more likely to work with the business. A company will quickly loose it luster if they are not making some kind of noise. It’s all about finding talking points that surround your industry and talking about those points online. We employ a full team of writers to draft blogs on our company as well as for those of our clients and business projects. If I count all the online companies that we own as well as the work we do for clients, we are posting a lot of articles each week. Another thing that we do is draft email auto-responder messages. On many of our site such as, www.mydivorcepapers.com, we employ the use of auto emails that are triggered based on an event for a user. It’s much like the idea used in most shopping cart abandonment services. We keep a steady flow of email going to clients to keep our name in front of them. However, we choose not to try to offer the service or sell the customer. Just give them relevant useful tips. A great idea about one thing or another. In the case of MyDivorcePapers.com, we offer an online divorce service that helps users obtain a divorce without an attorney. In this site we send customers looking for a simple divorce blog articles in the form of an email. Our goal to stay relevant here is to simply educate the user about their choice and be the source they can turn to when they are ready to file for divorce.

Thanks to Dr. Jason McClain, McClain Concepts, Inc.

 

Photo Credit: Adam Hansen

Photo Credit: Adam Hansen

Tell a compelling story

You could be selling the greatest product at the lowest price, but no one will care if you can’t pique their interest. Brands that achieve long lasting success create captivating marketing messages. Strategic and engaging storytelling will keep loyal customers enthralled while simultaneously attracting new prospects.

Thanks to Adam Hansen, MM Identity Lab

 

Photo Credit: Karen Shackman

Photo Credit: Karen Shackman

Always be on the hunt for new ideas

1. I became known as an expert in the newest destination meeting technology that attendees love during team building events. We were recognized as “ahead of the curve” and “creative” versus bland and generic. 2. I marketed meeting “experiences” over meeting “packages”. This helped my company be known for customizing almost any experience, which includes unique shopping tours, special Broadway backstage interactions, and even a 10-boat flotilla down the Hudson River for spectacular fireworks display over the Statue of Liberty. 3. I am always on the hunt for new ideas. I recently discovered a venue 30 minutes from Manhattan where corporate meeting attendees can race a Ferrari F430, and many of them love the adrenaline-centric activities more than ever! Quite frankly, our team has been pushing the creative envelope for years, but the recession forced us to work harder on it, talk it about it more, and deliver it for our clients at price points that fit their budgets.

Thanks to Karen Shackman, Shackman Associates New York

Related Post: Savvy Steps for Turning Your Idea Into a Product

Photo Credit: Linda F. Williams

Photo Credit: Linda F. Williams

Continuous improvement

The fail-proof key to maintaining brand-relevance is continuous improvement, lots of tip-sheets, and the fail proof adage of who, what, when, where and why should I care? We are bombarded with product pitches and companies are competing for ever shrinking market share as they combat decreasing disposable income among many customers. In every relevant arena, and these may take some expanded thinking to root out, forcus on the needs and niches others failed to address. Resist cookie cutter processes that present barriers to creatively meeting individual customer needs.

Thanks to Linda F. Williams, Whose Apple Empowerment Center

 

Photo Credit: Merry Carole Powers

Photo Credit: Merry Carole Powers

By making a positive impact in the world

I have worked as a creative director in some of the largest advertising agencies, stewarding some of the biggest brands around. In that time, I’ve seen a lot of means employed to create brand relevance. And of them all, the best way I know for a brand to create and maintain relevance in the 21st Century economy is to have a well defined social purpose. The really smart brands then link that purpose directly to consumer purchase, and in doing so, tap into the number one buying trend on the planet: Conscious Consumerism. Studies are making it clearer and clearer every single day. Consumers are willing to pay more, drive further and spread the word for products and services offered by brands that make a positive impact in the world. TOMS Shoes is a fantastic example of this. When a brand doesn’t just sell something, but actually stands for something in a really authentic way, it creates a common ground with consumers. In doing so, it can’t help but become relevant.

Thanks to Merry Carole Powers, Branding Powers International

Related Post: The Story of Pill3r and How They Partner with Non-Profits

 

Photo Credit: Mike DiFrisco

Photo Credit: Mike DiFrisco

Use the ‘so that’ exercise

I love to share my “So That” exercise with clients. It’s really very simple: You start with your primary offering. What is it that you sell? For service businesses or associations, what is your value proposition—the main functional reason why people buy, engage, or belong? Then, it’s time to ask the “so that…” question. Why do people REALLY support your business and consume your offerings. Pose the statement, “So that…” and continue drilling down for the pure gold—the real reason people should patronize your business. The deeper you can drill, the more relevant you will be to your target audience. What are you really selling? It’s been said that cosmetics companies don’t really sell make-up, they sell hope. A dentist doesn’t really sell veneers, they sell self-confidence. And that’s how your business can be (or remain) relevant to your target audience; by selling what THEY really want, not what YOU created. You need to be offering “Investable Opportunities”. That’s because people aren’t buying what you DO; they’re buying the RESULTS of what you offer.

Thanks to Mike DiFrisco

About Gresham Harkless Jr.

Profile photo of Gresham Harkless Jr.
Gresham Harkless is a Media Consultant for Blue 16 Media and the Blogger-in-Chief for CEO Blog Nation. CEO Blog Nation is a community of blogs for entrepreneurs and business owners. Started in much the same way as most small businesses, CEO Blog Nation captures the essence of entrepreneurship by allowing entrepreneurs and business owners to have a voice. CEO Blog Nation provides news, information, events and even startup business tips for entrepreneurs, startups and business owners to succeed.
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